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getting strawberries ready for winter

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Post  laurainwinona on 9/24/2010, 12:47 pm

Does anyone know what to with strawberries during the winter? Do they need mulch? What kind? I have several plants that a friend gave me which are in containers waiting to be transferred to a 4x4.
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Post  Old Hippie on 9/25/2010, 1:04 am

I wouldn't mind knowing what others do either. I don't do much of anything with mine for the winter. But it spring I give them lots of compost. When I grew them years ago I would put aged manure on them and they always seemed to do really well.

GK
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Post  Aub on 10/3/2010, 12:01 am

I'm bumping this up... And adding a question or two!

I have my strawberries in a regular raised bed (no MM, just our poor soil). They weren't too bad vegetation wise but I never got one berry off it. The chipmunks or rabbits got to them before I did.

If I want to redo that bed what do I need to do to the strawberries? And when should I do it?
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Post  Chopper on 10/3/2010, 12:21 am

Strawberries are the worst for being stolen by critters. The first thing I do is cover them with birn netting. It is that or grow strawberries for every living thing in the neighborhood but me.
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Post  dac_cincy on 10/30/2010, 11:30 pm

I am actually in the upper south region, but I thought I would hop over and anaswer.

For me- I now have one 4x4 bed that is 80% filled with strawberries. For the winter, I cover them with straw each night it drops into the 30s. Once the nightly temps drop and stay there all the time (which looks to be this week for my area), I never uncover them during the day. I do not compost them until the spring as I have usually composted around them during the time after they stop producing. At this time of the year, as I am covering them, I also check to make sure there are no daughter plants that have escaped from the box. If there, I put them back in the box under the straw.

My dad usually has bags of leaves for me this time of year, I hold off 1 bag to mulch on top of the straw once the daily temps are down into the 40s all the time - which is usually mid December. This gives the plants an added layer of protection during the freeze thaw cycles that are the norm in my area.

it works for me and my plants, not sure if it correct. But I am looking forward to a good crop next year due to the amount of plants in the box this year.



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Post  WardinWake on 11/1/2010, 11:57 am

@laurainwinona wrote:Does anyone know what to with strawberries during the winter? Do they need mulch? What kind? I have several plants that a friend gave me which are in containers waiting to be transferred to a 4x4.

Howdy: I found the following info on the web and will be looking for more. We planted 175 strawberry plants this spring and the runners produced over 600 daughter plants that we now have put into various sized pots so we need the winter info as this is our first year growing strawberries. God Bless, Ward and Mary.

Winter Protection
Strawberries need winter protection in the northeast in order to provide peak production. Straw is an excellent winter
cover because it doesn’t form a hard mat or throw around lots of weed seeds. Plus, you can pull it off the plants once spring
arrives and use it around the plants to retain soil moisture and protect ripening fruit.
Cover your strawberry plants with 5 - 6" of straw just when the ground begins to freeze and temperatures dip down into the
low 20’s to high teens. Be sure to leave the mulch on all winter and don’t be tempted to pull it off on the first warm day in
March or April. The tender flower buds are very susceptible to late spring frosts.
40 River Street, Troy, NY 12180
518.274.8685 CDCG@juno.com
www.cdcg.org
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Post  Megan on 11/1/2010, 6:54 pm

Thanks Ward! My strawberry project is much smaller than yours -- 4 wild yellow strawberry plants grown from seed, plus a red strawberry plant that was given to us and at least one runner off it. I am thinking I'll need to transplant them all into my SFG for the winter. The biggest trouble I have had so far is that everything I have found that is called "straw" is nothing of the sort! It has a lot of seed in it and sprouts all over the place. While I don't mind the extra plant matter to enrich the soil, I would just as soon not have to cope with that if I could avoid it.

Also, I am still getting berries. Do the plants go dormant on their own in winter, or do they just keep on going until frost shuts them down? If they go dormant I'd rather wait for that to happen before transplanting, if that makes any sense. I feel foolish asking that, especially as we grew lots of strawberries when I was little, but I don't recall how it worked.
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Post  WardinWake on 11/2/2010, 5:18 pm

Megan:

This is a learning year for us and as usual I jumped in with both feet. I had also accidentally put in a double order for plants last spring. I have removed all of the plants from their original SFG and replanted most of the spring plants into new SFGs. The runners that had taken root we put into various size containers depending on root mass and the containers we had on hand or could dig out of the county recycling bin. All were put into new/renewed Mel's Mix. I will try to visit the local extension agent and seek his advice on how to over winter the plants in the pots and will post what info he gives me. Our ground does not freeze hard enough to heave but the pots might, so it may be that we will bring them into the house for the hardest winter days. Again we are learning this year and if anyone can help please do so.

God Bless, Ward and Mary.



@Megan wrote:Thanks Ward! My strawberry project is much smaller than yours -- 4 wild yellow strawberry plants grown from seed, plus a red strawberry plant that was given to us and at least one runner off it. I am thinking I'll need to transplant them all into my SFG for the winter. The biggest trouble I have had so far is that everything I have found that is called "straw" is nothing of the sort! It has a lot of seed in it and sprouts all over the place. While I don't mind the extra plant matter to enrich the soil, I would just as soon not have to cope with that if I could avoid it.

Also, I am still getting berries. Do the plants go dormant on their own in winter, or do they just keep on going until frost shuts them down? If they go dormant I'd rather wait for that to happen before transplanting, if that makes any sense. I feel foolish asking that, especially as we grew lots of strawberries when I was little, but I don't recall how it worked.
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Post  Megan on 11/2/2010, 7:11 pm

Thanks Ward. I have a sneaking feeling we are going to have a very cold winter here, even if not a lot of snow.
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Post  laurainwinona on 11/7/2010, 4:56 pm

Thanks, everyone, for your replies. My strawberries are now safe in a 4x4. I just need to find some straw!
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Post  happyfrog on 12/3/2010, 5:39 pm

oh, wow! i'm glad i stumbled on this thread! hadn't even thought about babying the strawberry beds! i will look tomorrow for straw. i sure hope the freezing temps here haven't permanetnly affected my little babies.

thanks wade et al for the insights!

i am definitely going to put a note in my november garden 'to do' list to protect strawberries next year! Smile
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